APRIL 25, 1890


Born circa 1830 near present-day Lethbridge, Alberta, his name literally meant “Crow Indian’s Big Foot.”  At age 13, he showed bravery in striking an enemy tipi with his whip and rescuing his wounded brother.  In 19 encounters with rival tribes, he was wounded 6 times.  In 1866, in view of his camp, he killed a grizzly bear with a spear.  By 1870, he became leader of the Big Pipes Band and one of three head chiefs of the tribe.  Crowfoot maintained good relations with the Hudson’s Bay Company because they did not flood the land with alcohol.  In 1877, he willingly signed the Blackfoot treaty (Treaty Number 7) with the Canadian government, ceding much of southern Alberta.  Sadly, after the Treaty, the Blackfoot were obliged to live in famine on their reserve east of Calgary.  Despite being disillusioned, he continued to mediate between his people and government officials.  Crowfoot died in a tipi in the Bow Valley.  He is now considered one of Canada’s national heroes.

Source:  “Crowfoot (ca. 1830-1890),” Encyclopedia of the Great Plains.  Retrieved 2/21/2020, http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.na.023
Photo:  Alex Ross, circa 1885.  Public Domain.  

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